The Jaguar F-Pace took double honors at this year’s New York International Auto Show, being named the World Car of the Year, while also taking the trophy for World Car Design.
The first utility vehicle ever designed by the British marque traditionally known for sleek sports cars, coupes and sedans, the F-Pace has been well received by both critics and consumers alike, almost immediately becoming the British maker’s best-selling model.
“We really wanted to do something special for our customers,” declared a clearly emotional Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO, as he came up for the second, and more significant, World Car award. Getting this award proves we’re on the right track.”
(Chevy Bolt named North American Car of the Year. Click Here for the story.)
The World Car Awards are unusual in that they attempt to pick out the best automobiles from around the world, not just one particular market. That poses some obvious challenges for the groups 70 journalist judges, especially since many of the vehicles they have to consider are not available in all global markets. Two of the models up for the newly established World Urban Car, for example, the Citroen C3 and Suzuki Ignus, are not sold in the U.S.
The Urban Car award could become “increasingly important,” according to World Car organizers, noting the global trend towards urban living. Along with the Citroen and Suzuki models, the third finalist – and the winner of the debut award was the second-generation BMW i3, a battery-electric city car also available with a “range-extender” gas engine.
The World Car Design saw Jaguar snag the top honors after vying with the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet and the Toyota C-HR.
Another award expected to gain importance in the coming years is for World Green Car. This year saw the Chevrolet Bolt and the Tesla Model X vie with the Toyota Prius Prime. While the Bolt EV has won a procession of awards in the U.S. – including North American Car of the Year — where it is centered, the new Toyota plug-in hybrid rose to the top.
The Prime, a new version of the familiar Prius hybrid, shows “what’s great about Toyota,” said Jack Hollis, head of the brand in the U.S. market. The Japanese giant doesn’t focus on one green technology, but a broad range of potential solutions, he added, including full battery power and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.
At the other end of the automotive spectrum, Porsche snagged the World Performance Car trophy for its latest-generation Boxster and Cayman models. It topped both the new Audi R8 Spyder and the McLaren 570S.
Wrapping up the awards program, Mercedes-Benz took top honors as World Luxury Car for its new E-Class family, besting both the new BMW 5-Series and Volvo’s S90 and V90 models.
(Former GM Chief Welburn inducted into Automotive Hall of Fame. Click Here for the story.)